CNN reported earlier this week that Johnson & Johnson reached a settlement for $2.2 billion for marketing unapproved drugs.
The unapproved drugs include Risperdal and Invega, which are used for schizophrenia, and Natrecor, for heart failure. Fines and forfeitures will go to the federal government and several states.
Attorney General Eric Holder said that Johnson & Johnson and two subsidiaries, “lined their pockets at the expense of American taxpayers, patients and the private insurance industry.”
The Justice Department stated this settlement as one of the country’s largest in health care, including one of the largest whistleblower payouts in US history.
Whistleblower refers to the person who exposed the misconduct or illegal activity that occurred in the organization. Under the False Claims Act, whistleblowers in three separate states will receive $167.7 million.
This is not the first time that Johnson & Johnson has settled on violations under the False Claims Act in regards to Risperdal. In 2011, Johnson & Johnson paid the state of Arkansas $1.2 billion for deceptive marketing and false claims, involving 239,000 violations.
The Federal Drug Administration (FDA) approved Risperdal to treat schizophrenia but Johnson & Johnson marketed the drug to doctors and nursing homes to treat elderly patients with dementia.
According to the settlement, Johnson & Johnson knew patients on the drug were at an increased risk to develop diabetes but did not acknowledge that information publicly.
As for the the other two drugs mentioned –
Invega was marketed with Risperdal as “safe for elderly patients,” which was a claim the FDA considered “misleading.”
Natrecor was marketed as a treatment for patients with less severe heart failure than what the FDA approved, according to the Department of Justice.
With the settlement including payments to the federal government and several states, what about the individual patients affected by these drugs?
These patients must seek litigation on their own.
Even with advancements in medicine, situations such as these happen. The pharmaceutical companies consider themselves one of the most powerful industries in the world, and they are.
If you or a loved one has taken medicine that has injured you or made you sicker than before, we can help. You may think this will be an uphill battle, and it might, but we fight uphill battles everyday.
If this is you, contact us today online or call (901) 327-1212 to talk with an attorney about your case, free of charge.